The fog of disclosure: Why we must see the visuals, but never will

Killing of bin Laden deserves to be fully recorded and reported.

Historic events in the life of a nation deserve to be chronicled, accurately and completely. The dispatching of Usama Bin Laden is one of those events. We must see the photos and videos (however gory they may be) for two reasons: (1) that is the modern and preferred medium for historical records, and (2) the disclosure of facts has been so “foggy” that the warm sunlight must now be brought to bear upon the events to clear the fog.

President Obama’s decision to withhold the classified photographs and video associated with the mission has ironically served to deny this most modern of events one of the key ingredients present in virtually all other watershed news events in recent memory: pictures. We’ve had them from the Kennedy assassination and its Zapruder film to 9/11 and its camcorders. The Arab Spring comes via YouTube cell phone video, linked to from Twitter.

Indeed, in their sheer number of rate of disclosure, the details of the bin Laden mission have formed their own digital assault: They’ve poured forth virtually non-stop since the president finished speaking in the East Room of the White House, at 11:44 p.m. Eastern Time on Sunday night, May 1, nine minutes after he had begun.

via Bin Laden Killing: How the White House, Pentagon and CIA Botched the Storyline – FoxNews.com.

The article analyzes — in excruciating detail — the White House flow of information beginning with the initial press conference by the President on the night of May 1 through Thursday morning of this first week in May. The inescapable conclusion from that analysis is that there was no “fog of war” but only “fog of disclosure.” Why would that be?

In fairness to this discussion, it has to be acknowledged that “fog of war” is a valid concept and concern, and is discussed in the context of the UBL killing in the article by Pajamas Media linked below .

Shaping a storyline (I’ll refrain from calling it lying) is especially hard when multiple tellers are involved, as here when the President, his press secretary, his CIA director, and a cast of “senior administration officials” all talk about it on multiple occasions. It’s easy to tell the story of you have the facts and tell the truth. Do they have the facts?

It appears that the salient facts are not only known to our government, but that they were witnessed first-hand by senior White House officials. You’ve seen the photo (mentioned and analyzed here) of them gathered around the real-time feed of the raid — especially that of Secretary of State Clinton engaged with a look that can only be described as a mixture of horror and amazement. Early reports indicated that the White House inner circle indeed had a real-time feed of the events and it has been reported that the SEAL team had helmet cams. It is possible, I suggest probable, that the President and his group actually saw UBL get shot in real-time, or at a minimum have since seen it on video captured on helmet cams of the SEALs.

One has to believe that by Thursday those with a need-to-know had the benefit of a full debriefing, thus giving them full command of the facts. Then why are we not now getting a detailed clarification, a de-fogging of the storyline?

The logical conclusion — perhaps the only one available — is that there is part of the story that “they” don’t want “us” to know. Clearly (no pun intended), photos and videos would clarify all of the questions such as whether UBL resisted, whether there was anything akin to a “firefight,” whether UBL was shot outright or first captured and then shot, who else was shot and when/how, and more. There must be something politically sensitive or embarrassing personally to the President to cause this much obfuscation of the objective facts.

And that, is why we need to see the visuals, but never will.

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